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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senators to hold round-table on surge of fraud schemes targeting the elderly

Sen. Marissa Jiménez Santoni

By The Star Staff

Sens. Marisa “Marissita” Jiménez Santoni and Keren Riquelme Cabrera announced Tuesday that a task force will meet to create strategies aimed at providing guidance to the elderly population on new fraud schemes focused on this sector of the population, which exceeds 760,000 in Puerto Rico.

The meeting, scheduled for next week at the Capitol, will be attended by officials from the Public Safety, Justice and Family departments, as well as the Office of the Ombudsman for the Elderly, the Office of Innovation and Technology Services (PRITS) and the American Association of Retired Persons. better known as AARP, among others.

“Today we see how fraud schemes have focused on the elderly, as well as on those who are close to reaching 60 years of age. The increase in the use of social media by this sector of the population, which if we include a metric from 55 years old onwards, we are talking about over 925,000 people, almost a third of our population,” said Jiménez Santoni, senator for the District of Carolina. “We have to act to protect them from these schemes, that is the aim of this working table that we are convening for this month.”

Riquelme Cabrera added that “[w]hat we’re seeing is a skyrocketing increase in social media fraud that targets older adults.”

“All kinds of fraudulent schemes have an impact on this important sector of our society, which is why we need to develop an aggressive targeting campaign, along with mechanisms to facilitate the identification of these criminal elements, as well as their prosecution in the judicial system,” the at-large senator said. “There can be no impunity whatsoever.”

On Tuesday morning, news reports detailed a dizzying increase in fraud cases involving older adults, as well as people who are approaching 60 years of age, among which romantic frauds through electronic platforms such as social networks stand out.

“What we seek with this meeting is to outline strategies, real and applicable, in an expeditious manner to address these fraud schemes,” Jiménez Santoni said. “[...] In addition, there must be mechanisms available for older adults that make it easier for them to identify these types of schemes for the purpose of prevention. We will also evaluate whether more legislation is needed and what areas we can strengthen.”

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